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Abstract

This article provides a framework for answering two questions: How can Harvard fulfill its fiduciary obligation as an investor in ways that advance its beliefs, values, and commitments? How can Harvard take the lead in creating a curriculum for students, professionals, and the general public about the civic moral obligations of wealth? While aimed at Harvard, the issues covered are relevant to other universities and tax-exempt institutional investors, because they have a special duty to advance the public interest. Commissioned and co-authored by the noted corporate governance and responsible ownership guru Robert A. G. Monks, it calls on Harvard to take a leadership role in recasting the meaning of “fiduciary” in the context of the scale and power of institutional investors—particularly those with roots in civil society. “Myopic” fiduciaries are short-term and narrowly focused, a paradigm that has held sway for decades. “Ethical fiduciaries” are those that have made some effort to incorporate normative considerations into their decision making, reflected in their investment policies and (typically) proxy voting records. “Ethical, integrated fiduciaries” view their civic moral obligations as investors in a more holistic way, across the portfolio and anchored in their institutional purpose.

 

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